1979 All-Star Game
After Tommy Jackson and Marshall Herklotz played in the Coaches’ All-Star game, Karl Cooper was selected to play in the 1979 game. Cooper was selected after a stellar year in which he rushed for 2,243 yards with the Eagles advancing to the state championship game for the first time in school history.
Being his coach, I was particularly happy, because with a resume‘ like that, I knew he would get to play a lot. Boy, was I wrong!!!
Bob McQueen was the coach of the South team. He ran a straight-T offense, no frills, just come right at the defense. As the week of practice went on, I realized Cooper was not going to play much, due to the ability of the three players who were to start.
First, there was Earnest Jackson, who spent a few years as the feature back for the San Diego Chargers. He was an excellent running back, who was used mainly as a blocker.
The fullback was a guy named Craig James, who formed half of the “Pony Express” backfield at SMU. It was the recruitment of this class that got the Mustangs the death penalty for one year. James went on to help the New England Patriots get to the Super Bowl. James, in recent years, led the push to get Mike Leach fired at Texas Tech, after his son was mistreated. James then ran for state-wide office in the last election, but finished a distant third.
The other halfback on that ’79 team was a guy named Eric Dickerson. If you are a sports fan, you may have heard of him. Dickerson ran for over 2,100 yards in the NFL in one season to set the record, which was, at that time, held by O.J. Simpson. Dickerson is now in the NFL Hall of Fame. Dickerson also formed the other half of the “Pony Express” backfield for SMU.
As you can see from these articles, the All-Star game has had plenty of true stars of the game. Not only have they had the best Lexington had to offer, but the best Texas has to offer.